SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) — South Korean brokerage houses have upgraded their third-quarter earnings outlook for major listed companies despite the coronavirus pandemic, a market tracker said Thursday.

The combined operating income forecast for 173 major listed firms came to 38.2 trillion won (US$33.7 billion) for the July-September period as of Wednesday, up 24.1 percent from a year earlier, according to FnGuide.

It also represents a 5.5 percent increase from their estimate of 36.1 trillion won made a month earlier.

The businesses cover those for which three or more local securities companies have put forward their forecasts for third-quarter operating income.

The upgrade came as global tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. and other big businesses reported better-than-expected earnings for the last quarter, shaking off worries about the pandemic’s fallout.

Two weeks ago, top-cap Samsung Electronics reported an operating income of 12.3 trillion won for the third quarter, up 58 percent from a year earlier and well above the market consensus in the 10 trillion-won range.

Samsung’s earnings surprise came as its chip business got a boost from U.S. sanctions on Huawei Technologies Co. and its mobile sales recovered on pent-up demand amid the pandemic.

LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s No. 1 chemical firm, said Wednesday its third-quarter operating income soared 159 percent on-year to 921 billion won on robust sales of petrochemical and battery products.

Other large caps, which have yet to announce their third-quarter results, are widely expected to chalk up better earnings than earlier expected.

The market consensus for No. 2-cap SK hynix Inc.’s operating income amounts to 1.3 trillion won, up a whopping 176 percent from a year earlier.

In addition, internet portal giant Naver, its rival Kakao, and other IT and game companies are tipped to see their third-quarter operating income surge from a year earlier.

However, securities companies have painted a grim outlook for airlines, hotels and other businesses pounded by the outbreak of COVID-19.

South Korea’s top full service carrier, Korean Air Lines Co., is projected to suffer a 66 percent tumble in its third-quarter operating income, with its smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc. predicted to see its operating loss widen.